Body Contouring: Beyond Weight Loss
Weight Loss is Only the Beginning
Whether through diet and exercise or bariatric surgery, you lost a lot of weight—congratulations! But while you’re happy with the numbers on the scale, the reflection in the mirror is not the look you were hoping for.
It’s a common scenario, especially among people who lose 100 pounds or more: The fat is gone, but you’re left with excess, sagging skin in its place. Even a drop of 50 pounds can produce the same deflated appearance, frustrating those who have worked so hard to make a positive change.
“Basically, the skin has lost its elasticity and can’t spring back into place,” says Derek Masden, MD, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “Despite shedding the weight, many people still can’t fit into smaller clothing. Exercising may be difficult. And the skin folds may rub against other skin, leading to extra moisture, chafing, rashes or even infections.”
A Visually Appealing Solution
For some, body contouring surgery may be the answer.
Body contouring is an umbrella term for a variety of procedures including tummy tucks and lifts to the upper arms, midsection, back, thighs, buttocks and hips. Patients may need more than one procedure to get the desired results.
The best candidates are those whose weight has stabilized, are otherwise healthy and committed to maintaining their current weight through good nutrition and fitness.
Most patients spend one or two nights in the hospital, and can return to work after two weeks. Results are immediate and long-lasting—providing patients maintain their weight.
“The way I explain it to patients is that it’s like tailoring clothes – we take out the excess,” Dr. Masden says. He cautions that patients should not expect perfection after body contouring, as visible scars remain where incisions were made. But the before-and-after difference in appearance is often dramatic. “Patients are really happy with the results,” he concludes.
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